Drywall Water Damage Repair

Drywall water damage repair is a frequent concern for homeowners who have experienced leaks or flooding in their home. Walls and ceilings may be the first places to show water damage because drywall is so susceptible to damage. Fortunately, it’s repairable. It’s important to know what to do in the event that your home experiences drywall water damage so that you can contain the damage and contain the costs.

What Is Drywall? 

Drywall is a common construction material made of a mineral called gypsum covered by thick layers of facer and backer paper. Also known as sheetrock, wallboard, and gypsum board, it is commonly used to build interior walls and ceilings. The use of drywall grew throughout the 20th century as a less expensive and faster construction method to traditional lath and plaster. Drywall frequently contains additive compounds that help with fire resistance and mold resistance.

What Happens When Drywall Gets Wet? 

water damaged ceilingWater damaged ceiling from leaking pipe

Even with the mold-resistant additives, drywall is highly susceptible to water damage. The first sign of water damage may be staining or bubbles. It’s important to take a sign like this seriously because the damage is only going to get worse if the water is allowed to continue.

How bad can it get? The paper layers and mineral base of drywall can be degraded by moisture, allowing the structural integrity of the drywall to begin to fail. Water damaged drywall may begin to swell and buckle, and can be easily penetrated causing tears or holes. Ceilings may collapse with enough water damage.

In addition, the porous nature of drywall allows moisture to become trapped inside. It can be difficult or impossible to completely dry wallboards that have become soaked with water, especially drywall that hasn’t been sealed with primer and paint, such as you may have in your garage, basement or attic. This contributes to the growth of mold, which further threatens the structure of your home and can cause major health problems for you and your family.

How to Repair Drywall Water Damage

removing wet sheetrockSheetrock removed to find and fix leak
pipes leaking in ceilingPinhole leak in pipe

Your first step in dealing with any water damage in your home is to identify and stop the source of water. The water might be coming from a leaky roof, broken pipe, leaking or broken appliance, plumbing problem, or storm water. You must locate the source of the leak and repair it to stop the water from continuing to damage your home. Know where your main water shut off valve is and how to turn off water supply lines to major appliances.

Then you must dry the area thoroughly. Remove the water using buckets, towels, a wet dry vacuum, and/or a sump pump. After all the standing water is gone and no more water is coming into the area, use fans and dehumidifiers to remove as much moisture from the air and drywall as possible. Even with your quick action, you may not be able to avoid the growth of mold in the drywall.

If you see mold in the drywall, try to identify how far the mold has spread. Mold can be any color, from black and brown to green and orange, and it can be flat or have a raised, fuzzy texture. The US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners only attempt to clean or remove mold in an area less than 10 square feet. If the mold has spread further than that, you should bring in a mold remediation specialist. Follow this link for a step-by-step guide for dealing with mold.

Even if mold does not appear to be a problem, a general contractor can assist with any drywall water damage repair project you may be facing. Especially for more extensive repairs after a major floor or burst pipe, consider calling a professional in to evaluate the extent of damages and give you a quote for repair work. You should not attempt to cut corners or perform repair work that you aren’t capable of. Any mistakes could cost you in the long run.

If you feel confident in tackling home repairs, your next step is to remove the water damaged drywall. Heavily damaged drywall panels that show signs of the loss of structural integrity (such as holes, buckling, or bulging) should be removed by hand, with a crowbar or the claw end of a hammer. Once the damaged panels are removed, allow the area to dry out, and then replace them with new drywall panels that can be purchased at any home improvement or hardware store. If any insulation behind the drywall is wet, it should be replaced.

Small areas (such as 12 inches or less) of water damage can be cut away and patched using a drywall patch kit or a piece of drywall that you cut to fit the area. Once you have properly fit and secured the patch, seal the edges of the replacement with joint compound and sand to a smooth finish after it has dried.

Next you can prime and paint the repaired drywall. Consider using a mold resistant paint if the drywall is in an area that is susceptible to water damage, such as the basement.

Finally, you can clean up from your repair work. Throw away the damaged drywall. Vacuum any construction dust using a HEPA-filtered vacuum.

How to Get Help

If your drywall is showing signs of water damage, call 877-960-0491 to get immediate, 24-hour assistance from a local professional. You must protect your home by taking quick action in response to water damage. Do not delay and allow mold to grow, or a small water damage issue could turn into a major mold remediation job. The initial home inspection and estimate are always free.

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